Excthuthe me a minute, pleathe. Itth hard for me to thpeak right now. You thee, I have theeth thplinterth in my tongue. Jutht a minute. There. That’s better; I got them out. It really is hard to speak with splinters in your tongue, you know. I have this problem every time I drink Southern Tier Oak-Aged Unearthly India Pale Ale. That’s because this beer is so woody and packed with oak aged flavor, you really need to watch for splinters when you drink it.
OK, not really, but it seems like it anyway. As you might have figured out, Southern Tier ages their already exceptional Unearthly IPA and ages it in Oak and, voila! Oak-Aged Unearthly IPA. There is historical precedence for this, as the forst real India Pale Ales probably picked up woody character from the oak barrels in which they traversed the Atlantic on the way from England to India.
They would not have been as big as Oak Aged Unearthly IPA, however. This is a double or imperial IPA of a whopping alcohol strength 11% by volume. Southern Tier brews this exceptional beer with carapils malt, two-row pale malt, and red wheat. Cascade and Chinook hops go into the boil, then the hot wort is passed through Styrian Goldings, and lastly the beer is aged on Centennials, cascades, and Chinooks.
That’s a lot of hops, folks.
Southern Tier Oak-Aged Unearthly India Pale Ale pours to a deep amber color with a minimal head formation and an intensely woody nose. Taking a sip, I get some chewy-toasty malt up front, then huge woody oak notes, along with vanilla, whisky like flavors, and a very, very oaky finish. An English-inspired dry hoppiness is very present but not overpowering, and some resiny American hop aroma shows up too. I aged my bottle for a little over a year, and the hops still impress, though they might not be as apparent as they would if the beer were young.
It’s the woody oak that rally defines this beer, however. I’ve tasted few like it that execute that character so well. One word of warning: the beer did not seem at all its formidable alcohol potency, and that makes it dangerously drinkable. Perhaps too much so. The price was average at $8.99 for a 22-ounce bottle.
Yet another winner from Southern Tier. Initially, my experiences with them were hit or miss, but of late I have been nothing but impressed with the quality of their beers. Southern Tier Oak-Aged Unearthly India Pale Ale is another definite win, and a beer you simply should not miss.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.